APA (6th ed.) referencing bite-sized: gather your reference links as you go!

Your reference list is a single alphabetical list of all the sources you have cited.  Everything you have cited should be included in your reference list and everything in your reference list should have been cited at least once in the text.  Here are some tips for making the experience of building a reference list that much easier and less stressful.


Build a skeleton reference list as you go

If you use an online resource of any description, especially a website, be sure to copy the URL before you leave and save it to a working reference list in a Google Doc or somewhere similar together with enough information to identify it.  This will save you a lot of time and frustration later when you come to write up your reference list.

Keep sources of the same type together

It really helps if you build separate lists of every resource type, so that you can format all the resources of the same type together.  This helps you get into a rhythm while using the same example(s) from the same Referencing@Portsmouth page.  You can combine all the lists and sort them into alphabetical order quickly and easily at the end.

Make sure you copy a stable link

Following on from the first tip, always look for a doi* or a permalink.  Copy the doi code or link if one is given.  You should give the doi link in preference to a web address (URL).  Otherwise, look for a link labelled as a “permalink”.  Otherwise, just copy the web address.  As a rule of thumb, shorter web addresses ending with a definite name or code are usually stable links, while huge rambling URLs that span several lines of a word processing document usually break immediately.

* DOIs and permalinks will be explained in my next blog post, for anyone interested. 

Links in EBSCO resources (including Discovery)

If you use anything you find in an EBSCO resource, including the Discovery Service, you must either use the doi (if there is one) or click on the title of the resource and click on the ‘chain links’ icon on the abstract/record screen that appears to reveal the permalink for the article.  The web address given in the address bar when looking at anything in Discovery is a session ID (you can tell because mid-way through it includes the letters “sid”) that will stop working as soon as you close your web browser.

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One comment on “APA (6th ed.) referencing bite-sized: gather your reference links as you go!
  1. Excellent advice! Thank you – I even learned a thing. Just one thing to note, although I appreciate these are ‘bitesize’ and can’t cover everything. Legal statutes and personal communications are the exceptions to everything you cite being included in a reference list.

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